Summer food program notes need for sponsors
The Summer Food Service Program, SFSP, needs additional sponsors to help fill gaps in access to healthy meals.
The Illinois State Board of Education, ISBE, administers the federally funded program which is designed to ensure all children receive the nutrition they need so they can return to school in the fall healthy and ready to learn.
Twenty-eight counties in Illinois do not have any SFSP serving sites.
“Hunger does not take a summer break,” said Illinois State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith.
“There are children and teens in every community in need of a reliable source of healthy meals when school lets out for summer. The tie between sufficient healthy food and our ability to learn is indisputable. I want to extend my sincere appreciation to all of our current summer food sponsors and to anyone who is considering joining to help us close gaps in access to healthy food in Illinois.”
For every 100 children nationally who received meals through the National School Lunch Programs, NSLP, in the 2015-2016 school year, only 15 received meals over the following summer.
In 2017, 164 SFSP sponsors and 141 sponsors of Seamless Summer (an option available to current NSLP sponsors) distributed meals and snacks at about 2,200 sites in Illinois.
SFSP provides nutritious meals to children and teens, age 18 and younger, during the summer months when school is not in session.
Families can find their nearest summer meals site by calling 800-359-2163, texting “FoodIL” to 877-877 or visiting http://summerfeedingillinois.org/.
SFSP sponsors manage and develop their own sites and receive federal reimbursement through ISBE to cover the administrative and operating costs of preparing and serving meals.
School districts, local governments, and nonprofits can become sponsors and set up serving sites at schools, parks, recreation centers, resource centers, churches, summer camps, libraries and other community locations.
Those interested in becoming SFSP sponsors are advised to contact ISBE at 800-545-7892.
Participation in one training session is required to become a new SFSP sponsor.
Registration is available at http://webprod1.isbe.net/cnscalendar/asp/eventlist.asp.
New sponsor training workshops are scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. One of the training workshops is planned Feb. 28 in Marion.